"When is his birthday?"


December 2, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Is there a reason that 他的生日几月几号is marked wrong? I thought 什么时候 was more to do with the time of day. If you're asking the date, wouldn't 几月几号 work better?


I full-heartedly agree. I thought that was more natural, even the variation with 是 is not accepted (your answer is more colloquial so I wasn't sure if the 是 would make a difference, but it doesn't). I don't know why it is still not accepted after 4 years.


I've noticed "是" isn't used in all the same contexts as English. Can someone be more specific when using "是"?


The main function of the verb 是 is to serve as a copula of two nominals, i.e. tell us that "sth is sth". It cannot be used with adjectives as a copula, as adjectives in Chinese work like verbs, e.g. 大 "big" is literally "to be big" with that English "to be" already being expressed within it.


Is nobody monitoring these questions? 3 weeks and no reply! I have the same question.


I'm kind of a beginner myself, but at least with adjectives you usually don't use it in positive sentences at all. With 不, you do use it with long adjectives but not with short ones. 我的字不好. vs. 他的西瓜不是新鮮. If you do use it, it emphasizes what you're saying, like "(but) you ARE beautiful!"


I disagree with the long adjective part. I would definitely say 他的西瓜不新鮮. Adding 是 feels incorrect (regardless of the length of the adjective) unless you also add 的 at the end: 他的西瓜不是新鮮 (literally: His watermelons are not fresh ones).


什么 should be adequate for a date. No one asks the time for a birthday.


什么 alone means "what" so without 时候 it isn't enough to mean "when". Probably a better way to ask this would be 几月几号


Is 时候 necessary?


If I understand it correctly, it is part of the "shen ma". Shen ma alone is "what". But here you need "when". So you need the extra words to make it a "when".


Is 什么时候 better than 几号? Why?


Just want to point out... again... users who are typing without using the word bank can't hear the difference between 他/她/它


is the 的 necessary here?


Yes. The 的 of possession can basically only be dropped when talking about family members; else should be used. It is better to always use it to not mistake.


doesn't this translate as "what time is his birthday," or am i taking this question too literally?

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